8.14.18. 29.5 miles.
The day of blow-downs!
I woke up right when my alarm also went off. It’s so hard getting ready in the dark, and to make it easier on me, I’ve put my headlamp right next to my face so I turn it on right away before I can close my eyes again. I always feel bad when I’m around other people who aren’t awake yet. Getting ready isn’t the quietest ordeal, though I try hard to be as quiet as possible.
The morning was really nice, easy hiking. I still had a bit more of the climb left, but I finished it as the sun rose, then it was all downhill/ flat until the first water source for me, a spring 8.5 miles from camp. I made great time, and got to chat with some new NOBO hikers. It seems like I caught the small “bubble” of this section.
The rest of the morning was fine, but lots of blow-downs (where trees have fallen and blocked the trail) that required big steps, shimmying over, or going around. Some places had so many blown downs in a row that the detour also had blow downs and it was disorienting getting back to the trail. There was also some moderately steep uphills before the next water source, where I wanted to eat lunch. Snow lakes were 0.2 off trail, and didn’t have much shade, and the water tasted kinda weird after filtering, but it was fine. I stayed for a little bit, accidentally scaring hikers who came down for water bc I was sort of hidden by some trees.
The biggest climb of the day was right after lunch, in a burn area that was pretty steep, exposed, and super rocky. I was not expecting the rockiness after walking on such nice dirt trail, and it hurt my feet and slowed me down. Once I got off the rocks, and done with the climb, I felt much better, and strolled to my last good on-trail water until Crater Lake. Here, I ran into Downdog, who I met in Etna, and Generic, who I met way back in the desert, and who I didn’t realize I knew literally until today, bc I remembered his face but couldn’t put a name to it. He remembered me too, and we reminisced a little about the desert, and I gave him updates about people we were hiking around at the time: Excel, DHS, Dead Zone, LOL, Hot Mess, Butters, Hot Pants, Queso, and more. He was grateful for the run-down and a reminder of people’s trail names.
The next 6 miles to camp seemed to take forever. I kept thinking I was further along than reality. The trail had more blowdowns, and some nice dirt, but also had lots of rocks in some places, which really slows me down. Hard to get in a groove with rocks everywhere. After a moderate incline, I finally got to camp in a huge, flat open area. A nice British couple who I had leapfrogged with today was there, and I got to chat with them for a bit before we retired to our tents. Crater Lake tomorrow, and I’m super excited!